In the past week, Apple has discontinued both the HomePod and the iMac Pro and will only continue selling them while supplies last. It’s lead to speculation about what product will be next, and the Apple TV is a product that some feel would make sense.
Apple is about to refresh the Apple TV with an updated remote, A12X processor and more storage. Although there’s no definite release date for the new model, it could come as soon as later this month.
As a result of this, it’s likely that the company will discontinue the Apple TV 4K. It could choose to keep selling the Apple TV 4th-generation at a lower price point, similar to what it does with the Apple Watch, or simply discontinue that model as well. It would make sense to discontinue the 4th-generation, which is over five years old and runs on the A8 chip, but keep selling the Apple TV 4K as an cheaper option, marketed as an option for running popular streaming services over games.
It would allow the Apple TV to compete lower-end hardware like the Amazon Fire TV Stick and Google’s Chromecast and Chromecast with Google TV, while still supporting AirPlay 2, HomeKit and Apple TV+. This itself is only 3 years old and has hardware that’s powerful enough to run tvOS smoothly and support most apps and games.
If Apple chose to keep the Apple TV 4th-generation (HD) on sale, it would have to signifcantly lower the price or justify why customers should purchase a device that will only support the latest software for a few more years and that only supports high-definition content. Amazon now offers a 4K variant of the Fire TV Stick for only $50, while devices from Roku and Nvidia can also play 4K video.